Magazine article The CPA Journal

The Linguistic Shaping of Accounting

Magazine article The CPA Journal

The Linguistic Shaping of Accounting

Article excerpt

By Ahmed Riahi-Belkaou4 professor of accounting, University of Illinois

Published by Quorum Books 175 pages $55.00

Review byAlexanderA.H. Bobtling, CPA retired from Deloitte & Touche LLP

As the author of the book points out, accounting is the language of business, and to understand accounting as a language, it is necessary to study its readability and understandability. The Linguistic Shaping of Accounting consists of a preface and four chapters-accounting as a language, linguistic relativity in accounting, sociolinguistic thesis and accounting, and bilingual thesis in accounting. It is written in a way that not only academics versed in linguistics will understand but also in a way that trained accountants will find fascinating and useful.

The author points out that readability is one of the qualities of information sought by users. The book expounds on this sub ject in considerable detail. The discussion covers not only financial statements but also letters to stockholders. Further, the author states that corporate jargon should be reduced or eliminated, to be replaced by what the author terms "more readable reports. …

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